Ever since the repatriation flight operations began, Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) has been facilitating the arrival of Sri Lankans stranded in various countries due to prevailing travel restrictions imposed on account of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A special passenger arrival plan is implemented at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in partnership with all stakeholders. Arrangements have been made to ensure that all precautionary measures are implemented under the guidance of the Sri Lanka health authorities.
Arriving passengers are received by following stringent health checks, including PCR tests carried out by the health authorities. Passengers are processed through Immigration and Customs by adhering to all safe distance standards. Accordingly, the military forces then transfer all passengers to quarantine centres on completion of the arrival formalities.
Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited (AASL) has worked tirelessly to enhance the service facilities of the airport during this crisis period despite all challenges. For example, the public concourse was expanded giving ample space to departure passengers with new seating arrangements which will offer passengers a pleasant travel experience when the airport is reopened for regular travel. The staff of AASL together with other stakeholder staff work diligently to ensure that all recommended safety standards are met ensuring passenger comfort at all times. As the airport operator, Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited is always at the forefront in fulfilling its national obligation.
In its quest to continuously support Sri Lanka’s export industries and to keep the country connected with the global economy during the pandemic, the National Carrier SriLankan Airlines has converted a wide-body passenger aircraft into a dedicated cargo aircraft. This converted Airbus A330 aircraft will commence operations on the 25th of June to key destinations in the Far East and Europe. Mr. Ashok Pathirage, Chairman of SriLankan Airlines said, “We have transformed this aircraft to allow maximum cargo capacity with main deck loading in addition to the aircraft’s lower deck cargo hold to mainly support the needs of our export industries, as well as our imports sector, during the current global shortage of air cargo capacity and to strengthen the airline’s revenue stream during a time when the air transport industry is in crisis.” The reconfiguration of the aircraft was carried out inhouse at the airline’s hub at Bandaranaike International Airport, where the SriLankan Airlines’ engineering team worked around the clock. The new operational configuration has been certified by the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka. The aircraft will fly a total of 170 cubic metres of cargo capacity with the enhanced 60 cubic metres of cargo on its upper deck with 110 cubic metres carried on the lower deck. The total payload of the aircraft will amount 45 metric tons. Mr. Chamara Ranasinghe, Head of SriLankan Cargo said, “With the poor demand for passenger travel and the consequent reduction of air freight capacity in the global market has left a significant void for global supply chains. The past few months have seen SriLankan Airlines operating several routes specifically to cater to this demand for cargo capacity with our fleet of passenger aircraft. The converted operation comes at an ideal time for providing customers with enhanced volume capacity in maximizing the connectivity per flight.” SriLankan Airlines currently operates other aircraft on special cargo flights to 20 destinations in the Europe, Middle East, Australia, India and the Far East regions whilst offering capacity for cargo charter operations to customers in need of the same.
A batch of equipment and other supplies which include state of the art elevated skin temperature measurement camera solution and few other types of equipment worth of LKR 45 million donated by International Organization for Migration to Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited on 16th June 2020 at the Bandaranaike International Airport.
This donation comprised of several Thermal Cameras, which are widely used by major airports around the world for the measurement of elevated skin temperature, new health inspection, and interview counters, full-duplex counter communication system for immigration counters, handheld medical infrared thermometers, protective KN96 masks, disposable 3 ply non-woven surgical masks, disposable PPE overalls, examination gloves, hand-rub sanitizers, disposable face shields, and reusable surgical boots. The project is funded by the Government of Japan and the Government of Australia, which is in line with the Strategic Preparedness and Response Plans (SPRP) of the Government of Sri Lanka.
The equipment and other supplies were handed over by Mr. Sarat Dash, Chief of Mission and Mr. Shantha Kulasekara, Head of Migration & Head of Governance of IOM Sri Lanka, to Major General (Rtd.) G. A. Chandrasiri Chairman, AASL at the presence of Hon Prasanna Ranatunga, Minister of Industrial Exports and Investment Promotion, Tourism and Aviation, Mr. Upul Darmadhasa Chairman, CAASL and other distinguished officials from the Ministry of Health, CAASL & AASL.
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